Full text









“The Impact of Economics on the American Dream, (2 of 3)”

*Directions: Read over the following letter from a N.C. teenager during the Great Depression to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, answer each question listed at the end of the reading. (Spelling & grammatical errors were included in the original document)

Greensboro N.C. Febuary 12, 1938 Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,

On January 1, I was laid off from my work leaving my father the whole support of our family. Just recently he was cut down to three days a week with a cut in salary.

With seven of us in the family it is just about impossible for us to live on this amount. My mother has been sick for over two months having had a nervous breakdown, and we are unable to buy or furnish her with the medicine required for her recovery.

I am 18 years of age the oldest girl in the family, and it just seems impossible for me to get a job anywhere. I have been to mills, stores and firms of all sorts. I am willing and able to work, can furnish excellent references but at this time of the year it just seems impossible to find work.

We are so in debt, and each week the bills are piling higher and higher that it just seems as if there was no way out. We must make a payment on our furniture bill, and if it isn't paid soon, they will be out any day for our furniture. And on top of this, we are behind in our rent. It would be a big help if we could get some of our bills paid on as they are already impatient for their money. If you could help us out with $35.00 to $50.00 I believe we would be the happiest family in the world.

We have a good respectable family, none of us have ever been in any trouble and our characters are above reproach. Just as soon as I get back to work and the family on their feet again, I will pay you back as much a week as possible until your kind favor has been fully repaid.

My father's work has been very poor for the past year. He is an advertising salesman, and his work right now is practically nothing. He has had kidney trouble for some time, taking more than he could make for medicine. He has been improving recently, since he had his teeth extracted, and is looking forward to a job, which will not be available for a month or more.



We went through the depression without asking for relief.

I registered January 14 for unemployment compensation, and although promised $6.25 a week, have not received a cent as of yet.

Won't you please grant me the afore mentioned favor, please make it a personal favor, Mrs. Roosevelt, for if you would refer it to a local agency, I would suffer untold delay and embarrassment.

Although we are poor, we try to hold off embarrassment, for you know it is "hard to be broke, and harder to admit it."

Please grant me this favor and I will ever be gratefully yours, D.B.

This is not intended for publication.

Reply to the letter:

February 15, 1938 My Dear Miss B,

Mrs. Roosevelt has asked me to acknowledge your letter which she read with sympathy. She is indeed sorry to know of your difficult situation, but regrets that she unable to lend you the money needed. The number of demands on her resources make it impossible for her to respond to the many requests for loans, much as she would like to do so.

Mrs. Roosevelt suggests that you get in touch with the National Youth Administration, and the United States Employment Service, Department of Labor, as these agencies may be able to assist you in finding employment.

Very sincerely yours,




Create a definition in your own words for each term underlined above

Research the purpose of each group in blue and predict their potential for assisting D.B.'s situation

Were there any obstacles that may have prevented D.B. from receiving assistance? Complete the Venn Diagram below to compare/contrast D.B.’s experience with that of Ralph W. Ketner during the Great Depression. Consider not only what they lost but also their efforts to help their respective families.



Ralph W. Ketner

Who do you think had the better chance of achieving the American Dream? Why? Include specific details to support your answer.

Predict how Ralph W. Ketner's work ethic and attitude affected his perception of success and eventually obtaining the American Dream.

An electronic copy of the letter to Mrs. Roosevelt from D.B. can be found at: http://newdeal.feri.org/eleanor/db0238.htm



Directions: Read over the article below on how North Carolina reacted to the New Deal. Then, answer each question at the end of the article. Remember to support each answer with specific details and/or textual evidence.

“Federal programs to fight the Great Depression brought almost $440 million by 1938 to North Carolina. Conservative Democrats who had fought the reforms in the state, nonetheless, eagerly accepted the largesse from Washington, D.C. The most important New Deal program in the state was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which essentially paid farmers a modest amount to grow less tobacco, the state's largest crop, as well as controlling other crops. Consequently, tobacco prices and farm

income rose.

Overall, the tobacco control program was one of the most successful in the South and in the nation for the AAA. Cotton, due to competition overseas and from synthetics, did not perform as well. Tar Heel farmers embraced crop controls, not out of enthusiasm for big government, but in their self-interest, for the AAA’s regulation had improved prices. Furthermore, the government let farmers vote for controls through referenda.

New Deal agricultural success, however, came with a price. Reduced production meant that fewer tenant farmers and sharecroppers were needed; their ironic displacement by the AAA increased the economic problems of the 1930's.

Driven from their land, farmers moved to cities, and there many survived on government relief. African Americans, a large number of sharecroppers, were especially vulnerable to displacement. The benefits for crop controls disproportionately benefited landowners over tenants.

North Carolina ranked low in per capita in the receipt of relief funds from Washington, D.C. Farmers and businessmen considered relief a threat to cheap labor. Governors Ehringhaus and Hoey balked at providing state matching funds for relief. Fearful of excessive spending, Ehringhaus delayed approximately two years before calling a special session of the legislature to comply with Social Security.

Eventually, participation with some of the Social Security programs transformed the state welfare department into a major agency. New Deal public works projects left an impressive record of physical improvements.

The New Deal in the state had an ironic effect on African Americans. They were a higher percentage of the poor; therefore, they benefited from relief, but federal assistance was inadequate. Other federal programs affected them adversely. With higher wages from the NRA, whites often displaced them in the workplace, and crop controls reduced the need for sharecroppers, driving many from the farms. New Deal goals were economic; civil rights were not a priority for white liberals in the state or in the White House.



The New Deal affected women, too. A significant portion of textile workers, women gained from NRA wage increases. They participated in relief programs like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) sewing rooms and, like others in the 1930's, complained about discrimination, low wages, and cuts in programs.

Two Tar Heel women held prominent positions in the New Deal era: Annie Land O'Berry, a social service professional, headed major relief bureaucracies in competent fashion, and Annie Kizer Bost, state welfare director, enhanced her agency by handling some Social Security programs.

As election results proved, the New Deal received broad support in the state. North Carolinians credited Roosevelt for economic recovery and reform measures and sometimes blamed local and state bureaucrats for problems. Sharecroppers complained that the AAA mishandled government payments, and small landowners argued that production controls particularly hurt them. Large

landowners supported the AAA more enthusiastically. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which provided employment to young men, enjoyed the greatest public support in the state.

Although he selectively opposed reform legislation, United States Senator Josiah W. Bailey emerged as the most important anti-New Deal member of the congressional delegation. In 1933, he voted against AAA legislation. And after voting for the NRA, he attacked it beginning in 1934.

By 1937, he had become a prominent opponent of Roosevelt nationally. The recession of the late 1930's, and the president's attempt to "pack the court," fueled his attacks. In December 1937, he and other conservative senators, Democratic and Republican, issued the "Conservative Manifesto," a pro-business and anti-New Deal document. Bailey’s political skill enabled him to remain a force in a state, where Roosevelt enjoyed enormous popularity. The Senator managed to oppose the New Deal but also support it and the president when necessary.

In the late 1930's, others in the North Carolina congressional delegation joined Bailey in opposing the New Deal. Graham Barden on the House Labor Committee and J. Bayard Clark on the House Rules Committee fought wage and hour legislation, which he and others in the state believed threatened low-wage southern industry. Three House members in the state's delegation voted against the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, and three abstained.

While conservatives gradually increased their resistance to the New Deal, the popularity of Roosevelt and his programs in the state forced them to accommodate certain New Deal programs, if for no other reason than to ensure that federal money made its way to the Tar Heel state. But in the end,

dependence on state and local governments, often controlled by pro-business conservatives, limited the impact of the New Deal in the state.



In per capita allocation of New Deal expenditures from 1933 to 1939, North Carolina ranked last in the country. North Carolina, a rural state, did not have a significant urban base to press for more vigorous support for the New Deal, and liberal candidates offered little alternative than just opposition to the sales tax or the conservatives. Roosevelt's reforms, however, mobilized forces that energized liberals in the post-World War II era. Tar Heel workers, farmers and African Americans, aided by government programs, soon empowered the liberal wing of the state Democratic Party.

By 1940, the combination of the financial stimulus from the New Deal and the pro-business policies of the governors produced a relatively strong economy. Those seeking work, or on work relief, had

dropped to 8.8%, best in the nation. While nine southern states had declined industrially, North Carolina remained in first place in the region. State government ended the decade with an $8 million surplus.


1. Explain at least one positive and one negative of the AAA’s price controls on tobacco.

2. How were African Americans living in NC affected by the New Deal? North Carolina Women?

3. How might the New Deal have shaped the American Dream for working class men? African Americans? Women?

4. Why might the CCC have been more popular with the average NC citizen rather than the AAA?

5. How did the policies of the 1930s allow prepare NC to recover the most quickly of any Southern state following the Great Depression?

Sources: Douglas Carl Abrams, Conservative Constraints: North Carolina and the

New Deal (Jackson, 1992) and Anthony J. Badger, Prosperity Road: The New Deal, Tobacco, and North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1980). By Douglas Carl Abrams, Bob

Jones University

*An electronic copy of the article concerning New Deal programs in NC can be found at this site: http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/31/entry



“Building a Better Business”

Directions: Use the political cartoon below to facilitate class discussion on the principles of free enterprise and how they contribute to the American economy.



“Building a Better Business”

Directions: With your business partners complete the template below. Consider what the group considers to be the priorities for your new venture as well as what you know contributes to the failure or success of an entrepreneur.

BUSINESS NAME: _____________________________________________

- What is the significance of the name for your business?

______________________________________________________________ - Will your chosen name impact how your product is viewed?


BUSINESS LOCATION:__________________________________________

- What are the positives of this location?

______________________________________________________________ - What are the drawbacks of this location?


WHAT WILL YOU PRODUCE? ____________________________________

- What supplies will production require?

______________________________________________________________ - Do any similar products already exist in your home market?

______________________________________________________________ - Whom will you need to make trade agreements with in order to secure needed supplies? _______________________________________________ - What are you willing/able to trade in order to make your product a success? ______________________________________________________________ - Is there anything that you absolutely will not/cannot trade?



- What would it cost you to sell your product at absolute cost?


- How much profit do you need in order to operate as a business taking into account production cost, salaries, taxes, etc.? ______________________________________________________________ - Is your price more advantageous to your company or the consumer?



- How does your price point compare to similar products sold by compeititors?


- What will your plan be if the market is flooded with supply and little demand? Will your price point change or will you remain consistent? How does this affect your business?

_________________________________________________________________________________ - What will your plan be if the market is flooded with demand and little supply? Will your price point change or will you remain consistent? How does this affect your business?

_________________________________________________________________________________ - How does profit motive affect the price point for your product?


How many employees will your business need? _______________________________

-What specific roles will you need to hire for and how much will each employee make? Will there be any other benefits to working for your company?

-Role 1: __________________________________________________________ -Wages: _______________________________ -Benefits: ______________________________ -Role 2: __________________________________________________________ -Wages: _______________________________ -Benefits: ______________________________ -Role 3: __________________________________________________________ -Wages: _______________________________ -Benefits: ______________________________ -Role 4: __________________________________________________________ -Wages: _______________________________ -Benefits: ______________________________ -Role 5: __________________________________________________________ -Wages: _______________________________ -Benefits: ______________________________ Company Slogan: ________________________________________________________

-Why will this slogan be effective:


Company Logo:

-How/why will this logo attract consumers and represent the values of your company?



Product Advertisement:

- On the provided poster paper create an advertisement that will attract consumers to try your product over your compeititors. Consider what help will help your product and business survive.

- Create a rough draft in the space below and show to your teacher before creating the final product to be used during the live business simulation.



Business Model Reflection Chart

Directions: After participating in the live business simulation with your classmates use the chart below to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a business. Refer to your original business plan, your sales summary presented to the class, and the advice your group gathered from Mr. Ketner while watching the video to complete the chart below. BUSINESS NAME: ____________________________________

Contributing Factors Positive/Negative Effects Supporting Evidence














Ketner's Advice Potential Impact

Directions: In the chart below, sum up the advice your business group gained from Mr. Ketner. Predict how it might have influenced your business if you had implemented it. If you feel as though you followed his advice, how did it impact your business model?





Related subjects :